Israeli Couscous with Chicken

Platter of couscous with chicken

Israeli couscous, sometimes called couscous grande, is a larger cousin to the finer-grained couscous you may be more familiar with. This tiny wheat-based pasta comes in a small pearl shape that absorbs liquid while it cooks and has a wonderful toothy texture. It carries all kind of flavors, such as the Mediterranean ones here, perfectly. If you can’t find Israeli couscous, feel free to use 2 cups of regular plain couscous, and follow package directions for the proper amount of broth and cooking time.

Israeli Couscous with Chicken


For the Chicken

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Couscous

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous (or couscous grande)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 roasted yellow or red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and diced (see Note)
  • Grated rind and juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 yellow or red tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2/3 cups crumbled goat cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the chicken breasts and sauté for about 6 minutes on each side until nicely browned on the outside and cooked though. Remove the chicken to a plate and allow it to sit for 4 to 5 minutes before slicing.

2. Meanwhile, for the couscous, in a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted, then add the shallots and sauté until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the couscous and rosemary and stir for 3-4 minutes until the couscous is coated with the shallot mixture and starting to lightly brown.  Add the broth and stir well.  Stir in the diced roasted peppers.  Cover, lower the heat to medium, and simmer gently for 12 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes until the rest of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the lemon rind and juice, then stir in the tomatoes and halt of the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

3. Slice the chicken breasts. If serving family style, turn the couscous onto a large serving platter, and fan the chicken slices out over the couscous. Alternatively, you can serve one quarter of the couscous on each of 4 individual plates and fan out one chicken breast over each portion. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese and scallions evenly over the top.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Plate of couscous with chicken

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